From Stéphane Perron, Whistler, Canada:
A decision was made last night [23 April 2002], and it was a conditional yes or a diplomatic no depending on how you look at it. They said yes but with conditions that the WEF will probably not be able to agree to. One condition in particular is about changing the date of their forum to correspond with our slow seasons in the spring or fall, something the WEF is unlikely to go for. Our politicians did a good job, and were actually influenced by the overwhelming community concern over the prospect of having the WEF here. Even the councillors who supported it found themselves voting in favour of moving the invitation date knowing it would probably kill it. So that’s the outcome. The WEF will probably go somewhere else then Whistler in 2004. Some people had problems with what the WEF actually accomplishes, most just felt it brings too much security concerns for a little town like ours. Some felt it is our duty to host the top business people along with artists and thinkers even with the security concerns because of the positive outcomes this could bring to the world, others just could not understand how we could say no to all that money.
I have attached below the email sent out today by one of the main organizers of the NO side. It explains what happened a little bit. Cheers and thank you all for communicating with me.
DEMOCRACY IS ALIVE AND WELL IN WHISTLER!
For those of you who missed the special WEF Council meeting
last night, it was an electric display of democracy in Whistler,
with passionate speakers making their points on both sides
of the issue.
At the end of the night (about 10:30), Council’s decision was to invite the WEF… but with severe conditions which include not coming in ski season, no onerous security issues, direct input of the issue of Sustainability into the agenda, and a few other points I can’t remember.
I believe this was a wise political compromise which effectively
tells the WEF “You can come in the future, maybe, but only on our
terms, if we decide it’s worth it.”
You should be very proud of the role you played in this issue!
On March 4th, many thought this was a closed-door, ‘done deal’
between politicians and special interest groups and that there was
nothing the community could do about it. You have proven them wrong.
Never doubt that your involvement in this issue has made a difference! In your own way, you have taken a stand for the democratic process everywhere, and set a model for others to copy.
In most places of the world, this never could have happened.
Some say we owed it to BC and Canada to host the WEF. I say we owed it to BC and Canada to set an example for how democracy can and should work. And we’ve done that.
Others fear this issue has been divisive and harmful for the
community. But I don’t see that either. In fact, I think we are stronger and more mature as a result of what we have gone through together.
And I think we have changed for many years to come how important
decisions like this are made in Whistler.